by Andrew Hennessey

Golf is a sport that is thought to have originated in the Middle Ages as one of the many ball and stick games. However, the game of golf took root and developed in Scotland and it was in the 18th century that it spread to the rest of the world.

In 1554 AD in Leith, Edinburgh there is a reference to ‘the Cordiners and Gowf Ball Manufacturers of North Leith.’ Cordiners were shoemakers and leather workers, so it would follow that they were making leather cased golf balls. The Leith Links golf course itself was one of the very first of its kind in Scotland.

In 1724 golf balls were stuffed with feathers, in circa 1848 they were the solid gutta percha (gum and cloth) make, in 1901 they were rubber cored, in 1905 William Taylor patented the dimple pattern, and from the 1920’s onward the standards would be regularly refined till in 1981 the governing body the R & A – the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, made the 1.68 inch ball mandatory as of 1982.

The game has been played with clubs made of various materials that over the centuries became progressively more lightweight and resilient. The traditional wooden clubs from the early long nosed clubs of the 17th century progressed through the Persimmon woods of the 1890’s to steel shafted in 1929 to alloys in the 1960’s to carbon and graphite in the 1970’s.

These later clubs and their intended usage on the course were crafted with the use of high technology wind tunnels and the scientific study of anatomy, human physiology and ergonomics and video images on various computer simulations that encompassed factors such as; terrain, weathering and fabric fatigue on modelling software.

In the late 20th Century, Golf had effectively become a hi tek industry on the cutting edge of materials development.

Then in 1993 AD in North Leith during an alien encounter with a strange civilisation that alleged that it had intentions to redevelop some of the ideas, artefacts and materials from the human era, I was told by a being that materialised in my flat that they wanted me to think of all the beautiful things that meant Scotland to me.

That if I could think of ways that these social ideas could be less tainted and used to serve the common good of a real civilisation that they would be used in reality and redeveloped on a massive scale.

 Ideas both comical and tragic held me as threads that were uniquely Scottish were lifted directly from my own awestruck mind. By some process unknown they spun a tapestry of wonder in my mind and soul. It was as if I was hooked up to some enormous database of; art, fabric, texture and forms and that I was searching for relevance amongst the Scottish section.

There were battles and bloodshed, Kings and crowns and artefacts, pictures of castles and traditional cultural things, Inventions that were Scottish, geography and places, indigenous wildlife, tartans and textures, cultural art and design, tweeds and geology,  food and drink, games and sports – someone had been doing a lot of research.  

Nothing beautiful would ever be wasted. And then to me came the image of a game that I have never possessed the worldly wealth or physique to play - a game that originated in Scotland - and I realised the scope and potential of this enterprise for, Interstellar it could be, Universal it could be. I was shown beings playing Golf.

All species of every physique, size and strength could play this game against one another because it is a game that does not require physical contact, yet retains a communal appeal, being a celebration both of skill and the natural beauty of the environment.

They say all non-human beings can do amazing things with mind over matter and mastery of time and space. In the time it takes a human to hit a golf ball to a green on Earth a non-human being could run between the tee and the green maybe one hundred times they said, but then I realised that if these super-enhanced perceptions could be handicapped by some sort of handicapping system then the game of Interstellar Golf would then become a relationship between; the spirit of the golfer, and, the environment of the golf course. Thus the interstellar game was not merely a hole in one every time.

Golf then becomes a celebration of spirit and natural beauty not merely a non-human opportunity to annul and supersede the natural process.

There would simply need to be an appropriate handicapping system so that a big beings hardest hit would not send the ball into orbit and a small beings hardest hit would go far (relative to a human social and biological scale.)

I imagined the image of a golf ball floating by itself as if full of technology, then realised that by a system of physical data, and weights and measures supplied by each participating culture that Computers could analyse  Beings by weight and mass within and between species.

This golf ball droid, its flight data, momentum and spin etc could be calibrated relative to a human standard of amateur and professional musculature and performance.

A handicapping system could enable the smallest being to play against the largest, where the flying robot ball could be braked in flight by controlled instructions from the computer if it was hit by a large physically powerful Being, and, augmented in speed if hit by a small lighter Being.

Not every being within the same species would necessarily qualify for the maximum level of data enhancement and there would need to be some regulatory process to deal with relative social weightings such as lifestyle factors.

For example; ET’s who party too much would have that lifestyle translated into human Bio-logic, or, ET’s who meditated and focussed on the Spirit would increase their game performance because of the greater abundance of Life force that would naturally occur within their Bio-logic. etc

I smiled when I realised that Golf could be made into a Universal game - a Scottish contribution to the Civilisations of the Cosmos of eternal proportions.

There would need to be new golf courses on every planet I enthused, Championships and Tournaments, merchandising and fashions, trophies made out of various Scottish semi-precious rocks.

There could be franchises for the manufacture of clubs that were suitable for certain ET species but which did not contravene the Royal and Ancient guidelines.

Then I realised that the golf ball itself  by use of a hard holographic interphase could mutate in flight to adapt its scale to the scale and proportions of any course. I then realised that on other planets, gravity was going to be a factor too … and that the relative human gravity standard should be taken from the first Tee of the Old Course at St Andrew’s Golf Course, Scotland.

Realising that with a technological golf ball such things were possible and that interstellar technology could make all sorts of theatre possible on golf courses that do not happen now on Earth, I then had the idea that the game could also be played at night.

Golf Courses and trees and shrubs could be lit up with theatrical lighting of golds and violets and reds and blues, and fairways and green could have very subtle lighting – such that the golf course was a place of artistic splendour.

In this environment, the golf ball itself could be made by various settings by vocal declaration to illuminate to various degrees and in different colours and would also be able to emanate signals so that it could be variously tracked and located amongst the darker but beautifully lit undergrowth.

This would require organisation and co-operation, design and artistry, regulation and creation and lots and lots of enthusiasm.

There is a whole Universe of wonderful golfers out there waiting to tee off. The sport of golf itself and its first code of rules in 1744AD from the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers evolved, and  by the period of governance of the R&A, after the inception of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club as the games governing body in 1897 AD, it then went through various incarnations of the Rules of Golf up to and including the Rolex sponsored R&A Rules of Golf Book of 2004AD

It only becomes a matter of time then till the Interstellar Rules of Golf Code is on the agenda at the AGM of the R&A given the influx of non-humanity on the planet and the increasing falsification of the game by superhuman powers, processes and technologies.

The game of Golf was invented by Humanity in Scotland, but without the participation of human beings in the future it can grow to become one of the most important tools of interstellar and interspecies dialogue.

It may become one of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the Universe.